Service dog questions

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Postby luvmypitties » January 13th, 2007, 9:38 pm

Well with my newest addition, Roscoe, I would love to get him to be a service dog. He is very smart and is coming along quite nicely. So my question is how did you or how do you go about getting your dog certified to be a service dog. I know obedience is a big thing!! (we are going to enroll when Roscoe is a bit older... maybe in February??) If someone could tell me like how long it took, what you and the dog went through... I guess everything I need to know so i can start preparing now!!! Any help would be great!!!
Tina
Our thoughts and prayers are with Mick and Christine! We love you both!

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Postby katiek0417 » January 14th, 2007, 8:51 am

Are you looking to have Roscoe be a service dog or a therapy dog? Therapy dogs are typically considered to be different than service dogs, and are not covered by the same rights/laws as service dogs.

This was taken from the Pets and People website:

"Therapy Dogs
Briefly, therapy animals work with a health-care professional as part of a treatment plan. Dogs that do visitation are also commonly called "therapy dogs". Neither of these usually has access to public places.

This can be confusing, because sometimes people call dogs "service dogs", claiming that they are entitled to that label because they provide a "service" for people. You can call a dog whatever you like, but the fact is that no federal law (and very few state laws) allow access with that type of "service" dog.

Service Dogs
Dogs that assist people with disabilities are termed "Assistance Dogs" or "Service Dogs". Those dogs actually need to do something to help with the disability. In return, they are allowed anywhere you could take another medical device, such as a wheelchair. The dogs may or may not do actual physical work for their handlers; for example, some deaf people use very small dogs who can alert them to sounds.

A person who has a disability and uses a dog to help compensate for abilities lost as a result, is guaranteed the right to be accompanied by that dog in any place where the public is usually invited. This right is guaranteed by the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), which is a (US) federal law. Some (US) states also have laws concerning access with a Service Dog. The state laws may include restrictions as far as equipment that must be used, certification, trainers, and so on. The rule is that where the federal law allows you more rights, it prevails.

Please be aware that the ADA does not mention service dogs in training. Many state laws do. In that case, the state law is the ONLY one that applies; however, once your dog is no longer "in Training", you are protected by the federal statute mentioned previously.
(a page with links to US state & federal laws, as well as links for Canada, Mexico, and Native American laws, can be found at http://www.lawsource.com/also/)

Emotional Support Animals
Dogs that provide companionship, relief from loneliness & depression, and similar support can be allowed in housing (even "No Pet" housing) without the requirement of a pet deposit. Those dogs are called "Emotional Support Animals", but they don't have access to public places, either."

You should ask yourself the following:
1. What "service" will you dog perform?
2. For whom will this service be performed?

There has been much debate in the dog world about the use of the term "service dog." There are people who truly need service dogs (for whatever reason), and then there are people who refer to their dogs as service dogs because they want to be able to take them in hotels, airports, airplanes, restaurants, etc. Their dogs might be well-behaved, well-trained, etc, but they do not perform a service for someone. Some (but not all) states recognize SAR dogs as service dogs.

If you are looking to have your dog be a service dog, the training should consist of basic obedience, but center around the service(s) it will be performing. For example, I knew someone who was training a dog for the Seeing Eye Dog Foundation. She was a "puppy walker." Her task was to take this dog for a year, and do basic obedience with it (sit, down, stay, walk nice on a leash, come when called, etc). However, the actual service training was done at their foundation. So, it varies, and I'm sure there are people on here that could help you more on where to find that information.

If you are looking to do therapy work with your dog, you can get a ton of info on the various therapy dog websites.

Maryellen posted a wonderful sticky in this Forum called Therapy Dog Sites, but to summarize:

Delta Society http://www.deltasociety.org/VolunteerAboutAbout.htm

Therapy Dogs International http://www.tdi-dog.org/

Bright and Beautiful Therapy Dogs http://www.golden-dogs.org

Sacha is certified through Delta Society, and they list their tests right on their site. We didn't go through the class, however. I looked at the test, and prepared her at home. Much of the test is like the AKC CGC; your dog should know basic commands such as sit, down, stay, walk nicely on a leash, come when called. Your dog should also be social around other dogs, social to a friendly stranger petting him, and not wild if someone is speaking with you, shaking your hand, walking in a crowd, etc. There are additional things, however, that a dog needs to be stable with in order to be a therapy dog. When doing a visit, some patients may make weird gestures, or have mannerisms, tics, etc. They should get used to that, they should get used to rough petting (jerky, etc), hugs, having their ears, paw, etc touched. Loud noises (I trained this by banging pots together). Medical equipment (crutches, wheelchairs, etc). Since Sacha already had her CGC at the time I decided to have her do Therapy Dog stuff, I knew that the main thing to work on with her was the environmental stuff....

I have a friend who went through the course (for Delta) and had to teach her dog to put her paws on the bed, and to "give head" (no, not kidding, that was the command), which was basically just laying her head on the bed (she's a GSD, and rather tall). Greg has mentioned to me that when he was looking to have his old lab certified as a therapy dog, that the dog had to know at least 2 tricks (but this was 10 years ago).

Those sites are definitely good places to start, though...and there are many people on here who own both therapy and service dogs, and I'm sure could give you insight into their experiences with their dogs and their training.
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Postby luvmypitties » January 14th, 2007, 6:24 pm

I guess it would be therapy work since I have no ilness or anything to have the need for a service dog. Thanks so much for the sites!!!!
Tina
Our thoughts and prayers are with Mick and Christine! We love you both!

RIP my precious Noah! You are greatly missed and still so loved!!! 7-12-06-- 2-21-07
RIP Abby! I always loved you!
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Postby Patch O' Pits » January 15th, 2007, 9:17 am

On January 13 2007, luvmypitties wrote:Well with my newest addition, Roscoe, I would love to get him to be a service dog. He is very smart and is coming along quite nicely. So my question is how did you or how do you go about getting your dog certified to be a service dog. I know obedience is a big thing!! (we are going to enroll when Roscoe is a bit older... maybe in February??) If someone could tell me like how long it took, what you and the dog went through... I guess everything I need to know so i can start preparing now!!! Any help would be great!!!
Since the service dog would not be for you, you'd be training to give him up to someone who needs him. Services dogs are not just trained and certified like therapy dogs. They are trained usually for a specific person with specific disabilities.

There are a few members I know one with service dogs. Hoyden is one. Then DawnC who is on Pit Bull Forum she also runs CHAKO not sure if she is on this forum or not
and
Julia who is a member on purebred puppy

Those are the ones that come to mind that you should ask

As for Therapy dogs I have three certified and actively working. Mary Ellen works Rufus, and there are a bunch more

To do therapy work in most orgs the pup must be a minimun of a year old, but training starts asap. basic obedience first as pretty much every activity and sport plus everyday life revolves around that. From there go to basic commands with distractions. Do TONS of socialization.

I used to have a ton of stuff written up ion this on apbt cpnformation, but when Scot revamped the site most dissappeared. I'll dig through my notes and post in a new thread for you
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Postby luvmypitties » January 19th, 2007, 4:31 pm

What kinds of things can service dogs be trained for? Like what would be a I guess requirement for the dog to be labeled a service dogs? I mean there are some that I know detect seizures and things like that or help the blind, any other specific things?
Tina
Our thoughts and prayers are with Mick and Christine! We love you both!

RIP my precious Noah! You are greatly missed and still so loved!!! 7-12-06-- 2-21-07
RIP Abby! I always loved you!
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Postby WOOF-WOOF » January 21st, 2007, 7:02 pm

On January 14 2007, 7:51 AM, katiek0417 wrote:If you are looking to have your dog be a service dog, the training should consist of basic obedience, but center around the service(s) it will be performing. For example, I knew someone who was training a dog for the Seeing Eye Dog Foundation. She was a "puppy walker." Her task was to take this dog for a year, and do basic obedience with it (sit, down, stay, walk nice on a leash, come when called, etc). However, the actual service training was done at their foundation. So, it varies, and I'm sure there are people on here that could help you more on where to find that information.


Yeah, I've become interested in service dogs, recently. So any of you that have first/second hand experience with this type of dog/training/foundations I would love to hear what you have to say about that world. And not just how it affects pitties, but generalizations would be cool, too.
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Postby katiek0417 » January 21st, 2007, 8:52 pm

On January 19 2007, 3:31 PM, luvmypitties wrote:What kinds of things can service dogs be trained for? Like what would be a I guess requirement for the dog to be labeled a service dogs? I mean there are some that I know detect seizures and things like that or help the blind, any other specific things?


Service dogs can be used to assist those who are hearing impaired, those who have mobility issues, and even those with psychiatric problems....
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